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General Washington to General Lee

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GENERAL WASHINGTON TO GENERAL LEE.

Trenton Falls, December 10th, 1776.

DEAR SIR: I last night received your favour by Colonel Humpton; and were it not for the weak and feeble state of the force I have, I should highly approve of your hanging on the rear of the enemy and establishing the post you mention. But when my situation is directly opposite to what you suppose it to be, and when General Howe is pressing forward with the whole of his Army except the troops that were lately embarked, and a few besides left at New-York, to possess himself of Philadelphia, I cannot but request and entreat you, and this too by the advice of all the General Officers with me, to march and join me with all your whole force, with all possible expedition. The utmost exertions that can be made will not be more than sufficient to save Philadelphia. Without the aid of your force, I think there is but little, if any, prospect of doing it. I refer you to the route Major Hoops would inform you of. The enemy are now extended along the Delaware at several places. By a prisoner who was taken last night, I am told that at Pennytown there are two battalions of Infantry, three of Grenadiers, the Hessian Grenadiers, Forty-Second of Highlanders, and two others. Their object, doubtless, is to pass the river above us, or to prevent your joining me. I mention this that you may avail yourself of the information. Do come on. Your arrival may be happy; and if it can be effected without delay, may be the means of preserving a city whose loss must prove of the most fatal consequences to the cause of America.

I am, &c˙,

GO˙ WASHINGTON.

To Major-General Lee.

P˙ S. Pray exert your influence and bring with you all the Jersey Militia you possibly can. Let them not suppose their State is lost, or in any danger, because the enemy are pushing through it. If you think General St˙ Clair or General Maxwell would be of service to command ' em, I would send either.